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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Senior Mag 2024: When I can’t focus, I run for the hills

Eric Shi
Running is a great way to recharge your batteries

Ever tell yourself that you’d “lock in” for your test tomorrow only to find yourself lazily swiping through your phone for the next three hours? Well, I might just have the perfect remedy to get you both focused and fitter: Go for a run.

Yep, on the surface, going for a run seems counterproductive to studying. Why would anyone voluntarily exhaust themselves only to return to a task that requires immense energy and concentration? From my experience, however, physically exhausting myself actually increases my mental stamina, allowing me to study better.

I’d like to first clarify that I’m a very fidgety person. I also have almost zero self-control when it comes to time management, and if there were a single word to describe my studying, it would be spontaneous. 

Running helps calm my fidgeting tendencies, and the oxygen boost wakes me up big time. Even if I got a suboptimal six hours of sleep the night before, heading out for a quick 20 to 30-minute jog allows me to return to my desk feeling like I just woke up from an 8-hour slumber. 

Most of my sleep-deprived friends take a fat nap after getting home before studying for their exams. However, such naps usually wreck my sleep schedule, resulting in me staying up studying well past midnight, receiving yet more suboptimal sleep and waking up groggy the next morning. It’s well known that good sleep is crucial to memory retention, so the sleep prior to a big test day should be a good one.

So, by substituting that afternoon pre-study nap with a run, you’ll effectively wake yourself up to study for the next few hours while ensuring you’ll be both physically and mentally exhausted enough to fully crash into a deep sleep, allowing you to ace that upcoming test. It might be too late to try it in high school, but, fellow seniors, trust me and strap on those running shoes the next time you need to lock in on a big study session.

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